Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dream Life

For this month’s Scientiae, Pat at Fairer Science has asked,
What do you think a better, more equitable society should look like? What are your dreams for your life? For the lives of others? How close are you to living the life of your dreams? What would make you able to live that life?
Acmegirl over at Thesis - With Children, wrote a fantastic post that pretty much sums up how I would answer this question in a general sense. I would highly suggest reading and commenting on her post.

So, since she did such a great job, I'm going to answer these questions on a personal level. And, since I'm methodical, I'm going to answer these questions one at a time.

1. What do you think a better, more equitable society should look like?

Seriously, go read Acmegirl's post. I agree with pretty much everything she wrote, but I'll touch on a couple of my favorite points here:

- Everyone should be able to choose the life they want to lead without fearing ridicule or judgement from others. This includes who they want to marry, what they do with their money, where they want to live, what they do with their free time, if and when they have children, etc. etc.. Every single person in this world is different - why would we expect each other to live our lives the same way?

- We should value all levels of post-secondary education: university degrees aren't for everyone! College diplomas and trade school certificates are just as valuable (if not moreso in some cases) than a four year degree. If someone loves to fix things and wants to be a mechanic, they shouldn't feel guilty or that they should be doing more. I found that was the problem when I went through high school: the people with good grades were told to go to university, based simply on the fact that they could get in, and not based on what they were interested in. I wish that more options had been given to us, and that they were all perfectly acceptable.

2. What are your dreams for your life?

My biggest dream is to have both a fulfilling career doing something I love and have a wonderful family. And I don't just mean having both and struggling like hell day in and day out trying to please everyone. I want to be able to work when I want, but I don't want my life to be centered around it...and I want that to be accepted (and, since I'm dreaming, understood) by my colleagues. I want to be able to spend quality time with my family without feeling guilty.

At this moment my dream job would be to run my own Astronomy outreach program. I could work as much or as little as I wanted, and the work is incredibly rewarding.

3. For the lives of others?

This is "simple": I want everyone to have the life they want, without having to answer to anyone else. I wish that people (myself included) would stop living the way others want or expect them too.

4. How close are you to living the life of your dreams?

Right now, I just feel like I'm in limbo, so I don't feel close at all. Not that my life is particularly bad, but I do feel like I'm just treading water until we move. I realize that's not the best way to live life, but I think it's what motivates me to get my work done.

5. What would make you able to live that life?

First, we need to move - and there will be loads of discussion on where we should move and why. There seem to be benefits and fall backs to all the options we have right now, so there will be some compromise. We'll have to take into account things such as: the quality of DH's job, the city/town, education systems, benefit packages, opportunities for me (work-wise) and cost of living.

Then, I need to decide if I want/need to work and, if so, what I want to do and what I'm willing to compromise on in order to do so. For example, we want to have children soon, and we will start trying shortly after we move (since I'm not getting any younger and would like to have our kids before I'm 35). I refuse to take a job where I will be looked down upon for wanting to start a family, or spending time away from work!

It's funny - these days my dream life seems to be changing on a daily basis. I guess that's what happens when your future is unknown, but there are many options. In the end though, it will all comes down to doing what I want, and not worrying about what others expect out of me - or at least that's the plan.